Maryland State Police-Prince Frederick Barracks via Facebook
Prince Fredrick, MD- On September 24, 2019, the Maryland State Police in conjunction with Calvert County Traffic Safety Council, Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office, Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse and the Chesapeake Region Safety Council held a mock crash scene at Calvert High School. Additional Partners during the Calvert High Program included the St. Leonard Volunteer Fire Department, Prince Frederick Rescue Squad, Calvert Control Center, APlus Towing, Calvert County Public Schools, Rausch Funeral Home, Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, and Calvert High School’s Drama Students and Ron Bailey Photo Productions (provided the photographs).
Each year, the Calvert County Traffic Safety Council joins together with local partners to offer mock crash programs to county high schools. The program is developed to reflect the factors that most often put teen drivers at risk on the road. Crash type and location, risky behaviors, injury severity, and time of day are all included in a dramatic, hour-long program in a high school’s parking lot.
Last month, Calvert High School’s Criminal Justice Students, led by their teacher Dawn Lister participated in a mock crash for the juniors. Unbelted passengers, the synergy of impairment by cannabis and alcohol, and the damage that can happen in a typical rear-end crash when excessive speed is involved were all portrayed in the program. The high school’s drama students realistically completed the “victims” injuries. They were in place at the crash scene and motionless as the juniors lined up outside on the sidewalk.
Sheriff Mike Evans kicked off the event with a reminder to the students of the need to make good choices on the road. He emphasized the risks that can occur when they do not. He stated, “knocking on a door to tell parents that their teen was involved in a serious crash is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and that goes for all law enforcement.”
Detective Bill Rector of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office has narrated several mock crash programs. His experience as a past Chief of the Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department, combined with his Accident Reconstruction training makes him an able narrator for the scenes. He started the program with an overview of how the crash occurred. “This crash scene portrays a driver and her passengers (the Nissan Maxima) that are trying to catch up to friends traveling in the victim’s vehicle (the Honda Passport). They are heading east on Dares Beach Road.
The at-fault driver is reckless, passing at much higher than appropriate speeds on the shoulder, other drivers make 911 calls. The Passport stops at the intersection of Dares Beach Road (MD. 402) and Wilson Road, preparing to make a left turn onto Wilson Road. “The at-fault driver of the Nissan Maxima fails to slow down and hits the Honda Passport vehicle in the rear. The Maxima has an uninjured buckled driver and an ejected unbuckled front seat passenger that is deceased on the roadway. The Passport has three occupants, the front two are buckled and the rear seat passenger is not.”
Debbie Jennings of the Chesapeake Region Safety Council noted that “this crash scene was developed to accurately reflect the factors that Calvert County young drivers face most often. It was realistic – a rear-end collisions on a state roadway, coming home after school, passengers in the vehicle. We wanted to show what happens if they chose to include speed, impairment, and a lack of seat belt use.”
Andrew Rappaport, the Calvert County’s State’s Attorney, Maryland State Police Troopers and Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Deputies answered questions from the students after the program was over. They included what penalties the driver would face and how impairment by marijuana would be recognized. Dr. Janet Bahouth of Impact Research developed the injuries for the program and presented as to why they occurred. Kyle Gimbel, a young man that frequently works with Maryland Shock Trauma’s program, also presented on the details of his impaired driving crash and how he still suffers from cognitive and physical issues.
The Chesapeake Region Safety Council funded the costs of Calvert High School’s mock crash and presentations. The mock crash program is available to schools around Maryland, and schools can contact TrafficServices@Chesapeakesc.org with requests.
All images courtesy of Maryland State Police-Prince Frederick Barracks and Ron Bailey Photo Productions